Field Visits and Support for SURF

Annemarie Hou with Foundation Rwanda mothers
Annemarie Hou, Chief of Staff and Director of the UNAIDS Executive Office, with Foundation Rwanda mothers

This week, Sam Munderere, Chief Executive of Survivors Fund (SURF) hosted two field visits, to demonstrate the vital work that the organisation continues to support.

On Monday, Annemarie Hou, Chief of Staff and Director of the UNAIDS Executive Office visited HIV+ mothers of children born of genocide rape on SURF’s Foundation Rwanda programme in membership of AVEGA, along with Ruturwa Dieudonne, Social Mobilisation Adviser at UNAIDS Rwanda.

Ms Hou originally visited the mother eleven years ago with Newsweek photojournalist, and Foundation Rwanda co-founder, Jonathan Torgovnik, when he was researching the original article that resulted in the establishment of the programme.

The visit was an opportunity for Ms Hou to hear directly from the mothers to understand better the challenges the women face and the continuing importance that they place on receiving psychological support and nutritional support, in addition to ARVs, to positively manage their HIV. The effectiveness of the holistic approach which SURF has developed to support the mothers, through the funding and advocacy of Foundation Rwanda, continues to be an emphasis for our partnership.

On Wednesday, Graham Grass, Senior Social Development Advisor, and Steve Harvey, Education Advisor, at the UK Department for International Development in Rwanda, visited our HIV+ Survivors Empowerment Project (SEP) in Ruhango District in the Southern Province of Rwanda, funded by Comic Relief.

AVEGA members of the SEP Project with the DFID Team and SURF CEO (right)
AVEGA members of the SEP Project with the DFID Team and SURF CEO (right)

The team visited a group of genocide widows in membership of AVEGA which had received IGA (Income Generating Activities) training and have started small businesses using loans acquired through the Loan Guarantee Fund set up with support from Comic Relief. The businesses that the women have set up include a group which farms cassava to supply to the Kinazi Cassava Plant which is progressing impressively.

Again, the importance of SURF’s holistic approach to support survivors was a focus of the visit, with the women stressing the importance of the project in helping them to meet other women and form groups. As the groups have turned into families for them, serving as a vital support network enabling them to provide each other with emotional and physical assistance through the groups while undertaking their business.

As we approach the festive season, if you are looking to share the spirit of generosity with those less fortunate, then please do consider a donation to Survivors Fund (SURF). Any donation that you can make will go to support such flagship projects. You can make a donation here.

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year ahead!

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